These are the best NVIDIA graphics cards you can buy in 2022
It may be impossible to source a GPU right now, but it’s not something to be ignored. You can’t possibly build a good gaming PC without adding a graphics card to it. Even the best CPUs require a GPU to allow you to do what you do best — be it gaming, content creation, or any 3D workloads. Sure, there are processors with integrated graphics cards but they’re not going to yield you the best graphics performance. You can check out our existing collection of the best graphics card to find out all your available options on the market across different budgets. In this article, we’ll specifically be looking at the best Nvidia graphics cards you can buy right now.
Nvidia’s been at the top of its game in the GPU space. The company has set the bar high with its Ampere generation. AMD also has a lot of good GPUs on the market, but it’s still relatively tough to turn a blind eye towards the Nvidia GPUs. You can also check out our collection of the best AMD graphics if you want to go with team red. But in this article, we’ll only be taking a look at some of the best Nvidia GPUs you can buy in the market right now. Nvidia still has a lot of really good graphics cards, that too across different price points. So without wasting any more time, let’s get started with the list:
Navigate this article:
- Best graphics card to buy: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
- Best graphics card for 4K gaming: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
- Most powerful Nvidia graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090
- Best graphics card for 1440p gaming: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
- Best graphics card for 1080p gaming: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
- Best budget graphics card for ray-tracing: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super
- Best entry-level graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super
Best graphics card to buy: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
The GeForce RTX 3080 isn’t Nvidia’s fastest GPU on the market right now. That crown belongs to its more expensive, powerful sibling, the RTX 3090. However, we think the RTX 3080 is a fantastic graphics card and it’s plenty for most people to dish out a perfectly capable 4K gaming rig. It’s truly a flagship GPU of the Ampere generation, one that’s here to stay for at least a few years into the future. The RTX 3080 replaces the RTX 2080 Super. It’s a major leap in terms of performance, yet it manages to retain the price tag.
There’s GA102 silicon at the heart of the Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU. This is essentially the same chip that powers both the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3090 GPU. The GA102 variant that goes into the RTX 3080 boasts 8,704. Even though it’s less than what you get with the RTX 3090 GPU, we’re still looking at a significant jump compared to the 3,072 CUDA cores inside the RTX 2080 Super. These CUDA cores are arrayed across 68 streaming multiprocessors (SMs). The RTX 3080 has 28.3 bn transistors and we’re looking at a GPU boost clock of 1,710MHz.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU also comes with 10GB of GDDR6X memory, running across an aggregated 320-bit memory interface. The GPU delivers 760GB/s of bandwidth compared, which is significantly higher than the sub-500GB/s bandwidth of the GDDR6 Turing cards that came out earlier. It goes without saying that a GPU like this demands a lot of power. Nvidia’s Founders Edition card is rated for 320W, but it tends to peak higher than that under load. Nvidia recommends a 750W PSU for this GPU, although we think stepping up to either an 850W or higher would be suitable to run a powerful gaming rig with high-performance CPUs, and more.
Nvidia is also using a new custom heatsink for these new Ampere GPUs. It’s essentially a dense vapor chamber with direct contact heat pipes. You also get two fans on this GPU and the custom throughflow design allows the GPU to breathe fresh air for better cooling performance. It’s recommended that you maintain a proper airflow inside your PC case to avoid any thermal throttling with the RTX 3080.
In terms of the performance, well, the RTX 3080 is capable of pushing 4K gaming at 60FPS. It’s one of the most powerful GPUs on the market right now. Step up to anything beyond the RTX 3080, and you’re only looking at a marginal performance boost for the price. This is one of the reasons why the RTX 3080 is our pick for the best GPU you can buy right now. Sure, you can always setup up either an RTX 3080 Ti or even an RTX 3090, but you’re not going to get a significant performance boost over the RTX 3080 to warrant the price bump. The RTX 3080 is also great for ray-tracing thanks to the 68 RT cores and support for DLSS 2.0. It’s tough to find the RTX 3080 in stock right now, but you can’t go wrong with this GPU for a reliable 4K gaming experience.
Alternate best pick: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti
While on the surface the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti may look like just an upgraded model of the card that came out in 2020, the RTX 3070 Ti is more than a small incremental upgrade. It is what we think is currently the best graphics card you can buy on the market if you’re after 1440p gaming. It’s the next best GPU you can grab after the RTX 3080 in our collection of the best Nvidia graphics cards. This reinforced model features a major difference that puts on the higher end of the performance chart — a bump to GDDR6X VRAM. This is the same RAM that’s being used in the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3090, and it’s a significant upgrade over the regular GDDR6 memory.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti also brings 6,144 CUDA cores, 256 more than the regular version for better ray-tracing support. The difference is minor in terms of the real-world performance, but it’s still worth pointing out. The RTX 3070 Ti also boasts a 1,770Mhz boost clock, which is again higher than the regular variant of the GPU. The upgraded memory type and faster clock speed together provide a solid 10-15% performance uptick over the standard 3070. This will allow it to push better frame rates across a lot of titles into the future. It is, however, worth pointing out that the RTX 3070 Ti still uses 8GB VRAM. It isn’t a bottleneck since 8GB VRAM is still plenty to push 1440p gaming at playable frame rates for now. A higher VRAM count, however, would’ve made it a bit more futureproof.
In terms of the looks, though, it’s more or less the same as the original 3070. We’re looking at the same GA104 chip inside with an elaborate heatsink for the Founders Edition with two fans. The upgraded specs shouldn’t really affect the overall thermal output of the GPU, at least not by a huge margin, it should be more than enough. The 3070 Ti offers noticeable framerate improvement over the stock 3070. 4K gaming also becomes a bit more palatable thanks to the GDDR6X memory type. 4K gaming performance is slightly better on the RTX 3070 Ti than it is on the standard 3070, but we think the RTX 3080 is still the 4K gaming champ this year.
Under normal conditions, the RTX 3070 Ti is a $599 graphics card, which means it costs more than the 3070. It scratches the surface of the 3080 with its pricing. You can stick to the regular 3070 if you don’t care about the futureproofing part. The 3070 is still a fantastic GPU for those looking to get a 1440p gaming experience right now with the existing titles on the market. You’re looking at a premium MSRP here for the 3070 Ti, but you’re bound to get your money’s worth. It trades blows with AMD’s RX 6800 GPU with its performance, although that’s a more expensive GPU. Just like most other GPUs on this list, it’s not particularly easy to get your hands on an RTX 3070 Ti GPU. You can hit the link below to see if the stocks are available.
Best graphics card for 4K gaming: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 is one of the most GPUs on the market and we think it’s plenty for most users looking to build a powerful 4K gaming rig. Anything beyond the RTX 3080 basically just offers marginal upgrades in terms of performance. However, that didn’t stop Nvidia from bringing the RTX 3090 and the RTX 3080 Ti to the market. Yes, Nvidia has also added the RTX 3080 Ti to its roster as a powerful GPU for 4K gaming.
The RTX 3080 Ti, as you’d expect, sits between the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3090. It’s more powerful than the RTX 3080. It brings 12GB GDDR6X memory to the table compared to the 10GB memory on the regular RTX 3080. You also get 10240 CUDA cores, higher than what you get with the 3080. The 3080 Ti also brings a bigger memory interface, but you’re looking at a slightly slower base and the boost clock. It’ll generally perform better than the standard 3080 GPU, but the boost in performance will cost you a lot of money. The RTX 3080 Ti costs $500 more than the 3080, which means it’s now closer to the 3090. You know you’re looking at a super expensive GPU when you’re in the RTX 3090 territory.
The RTX 3080 Ti also looks identical to the 3080. Nvidia is using the exact same heatsink for this GPU. You get the same vapor chamber design with two fans for a throughflow design. Obviously, 3rd party aftermarket cards’ design may vary based on the manufacturer, but the Founders Edition GPU looks exactly the same. You won’t be able to tell the difference between the two if it wasn’t for the RTX 3080 Ti branding. The dimensions are also identical which means you’ll be able to fit in this GPU in all the cases that can accommodate the 3080.
Nvidia rates the RTX 3080 Ti for 350W power, so you might need a beefier GPU depending on other components of your PC. We still recommend getting at least an 850W PSU for a build involving this particular GPU. In terms of performance, the RTX 3080 Ti is a 4K GPU. It handles even the most demanding titles gracefully at 4K, delivering 60FPS. Ray-tracing is also supported and it’s better than ever thanks to DLSS 2.0 support. The RTX 3080 Ti is closer to the RTX 3090 in terms of performance. It further bridges the gap between a 3080 and a 3090, so you’re looking at a futureproofed GPU that’ll set you up for good when it comes to 4K gaming.
That being said, we think the GeForce RTX 3080 GPU is plenty for most users. You can easily buy the RTX 3080 for a reliable 4K gaming experience unless there’s a lot of money burning a hole in your pocket. The RTX 3090 still represents the best of what Nvidia has to offer, but the 3080 Ti comes close. If you want the absolute best 4K gaming experience without any compromises, then we think the RTX 3080 Ti makes sense. The additional VRAM will definitely help in more demanding titles like Cyberpunk 2077.
Most powerful Nvidia graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090
The GeForce RTX 3090 is one of the most powerful GPUs you can buy right now. It represents the best of what Nvidia has to offer in the consumer GPU space and it easily topples every other GPU on the market with ease when it comes to raw performance. It is, however, worth pointing out that the RTX 3090 isn’t built with an average gamer in mind. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that it’s not even a gaming GPU. The RTX 3090 GPU is made for creators. Sure, you can use it to play games, but it’ll just be overkill. There’s nothing the RTX 3090 brings to the table for gaming that’s not already being achieved by either the RTX 3080 or the RTX 3080 Ti.
The RTX 3090 is a colossal graphics card for content creators and those dealing with 3D workloads. In addition to creative professionals, the RTX 3090 is also good for compute-intensive application acceleration. It’s a big-boy GPU that’s made for more than just getting you 4K 60FPS gaming performance. The RTX 3090 is a chonky graphics card. It’s the biggest GPU we’ve seen so far. Even the Founders Edition of this thing is bigger than any GPU we’ve seen before it. Nvidia is using all the volume to pack a beefier heat sink. The 3090 needs all the cooling because it’s an absolute powerhouse.
The Nvidia RTX 3090 packs 28.3 billion transistors and comes with 10,496 CUDA cores. You’re also looking at 82 SMs and RT cores in addition to 328 Tensor cores. The RTX 3090 comes with a whopping 24GB GDDR6X memory to the table over 384-bit memory bus for a total memory bandwidth of 936GB/s. These numbers, as you can see, are quite insane for a consumer GPU. This is the best RTX 30-series GPU you can buy right now and it’ll cost you a whopping $1,500. Well, that’s only if you find it in retail, which is literally impossible given the current scenarios.
The RTX 3090 dwarfs the 3080, so you’ll need a lot of space to accommodate this GPU inside your PC case. Nvidia recommends a 750W PSU to handle its 350W power rating for the 3090, but we recommend at least a 1000W PSU for a building involving this particular card. You’ll definitely need it considering it’s going to be a high-performance build with other powerful components. It goes without saying that you should be pairing the RTX 3090 with nothing but the best AMD CPUs or the new Intel Alder Lake CPUs on the market.
As we mentioned earlier, the RTX 3090 is more than just a gaming GPU. However, you can definitely use it for a reliable 4K gaming experience. It’ll handle even the most demanding games with ease. In fact, you can also use the 3090 to play games at resolutions higher than 4K, but you may have to compromise on the overall visual fidelity. We recommend buying the RTX 3090 if you’re a creative professional for whom faster render times in creative workload apps have a direct impact on their earnings.
Best graphics card for 1440p gaming: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
After launching the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3090 GPU on the market, Nvidia continued the Ampere GPU releases with the GeForce RTX 3070. This one’s a sizable step down from the RTX 3080 in terms of both performance and price, however, it’s still one of the best GPUs you can buy right now. It’s our pick for the best 1440p graphics card in 2021 from the house of Nvidia. This $500 GPU (retail, of course) slips right into the high-end GPU market. It may not be as powerful as the RTX 3080 or the 3090, but it sits on top of the performance charts, offering a great value for money in the Ampere series.
The RTX 3070 uses the GA104 silicon with 17.4 billion transistors and 46 SMs. It packs 5,888 GPU cores, 184 Tensor cores, and 46 RT cores for ray-tracing. Yes, it also supports ray-tracing and it’s quite reliable at that even at 1440p. Of course, DLSS 2.0 also plays a huge role but the ray-tracing performance of Nvidia cards has generally been better than anything that AMD has to offer even in 2021. The RTX 3070 boasts a base clock of 1500Mhz and a boost clock of 1725Mhz. This GPU packs 8GB of VRAM over a 256-bit memory bus for a memory bandwidth of 512GB/s.
It looks very similar to the other 30-series GPUs on the market, although the 3070 comes with a darker shade. The overall heatsink design is very similar to the 3080, and it shouldn’t really have any issues fitting into most PC cases. The RTX 3070 is rated for 220W power, so we think even a 750W PSU should be plenty to push a PC involving an RTX 3070 GPU.
The RTX 3070 GPU is good for 1440p gaming with reliable frame rates. Ideally, even an RTX 3060 should be able to handle 1440p, but the 3070 happens to do it better without forcing you to tweak any graphics settings. RTX 3070 is also proven to deliver 4k gaming, but you may have to compromise on the overall graphics. We’d say let the RTX 3080 handle 4K gaming and stick to 1440p with an RTX 3070. That’s because the 3070 has about 32 percent less compute and up to 41 percent less bandwidth compared to the RTX 3080. The RTX 3070 is a brainer when compared with the last-gen RTX 2070, though. The 3070 basically matches the general performance of RTX 2080 Ti at less than half the price.
Unfortunately, the RTX 3070, just like the GPUs on the market, is very difficult to buy right now. This $500 GPU is currently out of stock with most retailers and is going for upwards of $1500 in the second-hand market. There is, however, no better GPU than the RTX 3070 for 1440p, especially at MSRP. You can step up to the RTX 3070 Ti for more performance, but it also costs more and puts you on the higher end of the GPU space alongside the RTX 3080.
Best graphics card for 1080p gaming: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is what we call the best graphics card for most users out there. Why? Because most people, even in 2021, stick to 1080p gaming. Sure, 1440p gaming is well within the reach but 1080p is still the way to go for an average gamer. The RTX 3060 Ti is currently the best Nvidia GPU you can buy for 1080p. It’s also suitable for 1440p gaming, but you may have to compromise a little with the performance. This is the GPU that makes Nvidia’s Ampere architecture more accessible to people.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is based on the Ampere architecture. It brings 8GB GDDR6 VRAM paired with 38 Ampere Streaming Multiprocessors (SM). It packs 4,864 CUDA cores, up from the 2,176 found in the RTX 2060 Super. Power consumption has naturally seen an uptick too. The RTX 3060 Ti is now rated for 200W, up from 175W of the RTX 2060 Super from the previous generation. It’s definitely an increase, but it’s not a significant increase to warrant a PSU upgrade. You should be able to make peace with the same PSU you were using earlier with the 2060 Super.
The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti also comes with Tensor Cores for AI workloads like DLSS and more. It also has dedicated RT cores for ray-tracing. The 3060 Ti offers reliable ray-tracing performance at 1080p, making it an excellent option for a no-compromise gaming experience. RT performance 1440p becomes a little bit of a stretch for this GPU, which is why we recommend sticking to 1080p with the 3060 Ti. Ray-tracing has gotten better over time, with more games now supporting the tech to improve the overall performance. It goes without saying that Nvidia GPUs still handle RT better than the AMD ones do, so keep that in mind while picking up a new GPU.
The RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition GPU, as you can see, is identical to the RTX 3070 FE. They also share the same dimensions, with the same amount of exposed fins and the same amount of fans. Third-party cards from partner OEMs will have different designs, but the overall performance is going to be more or less the same. If anything, partner cards may be slightly better due to the more efficient thermal solution. We’ve seen some crazy designs from OEMs, so be sure to look around before picking up a card.
In terms of the pricing and competing cards, the RTX 3060 Ti falls right around the same price as the RTX 2060 Super. However, it performs much better than that. In fact, the RTX 3060 Ti is closer to the RTX 2080 Super when it comes to performance while costing less. This makes it one of the best GPUs for the price. Again, all this is assuming you can find one stock. We suggest you hit the link below and keep an eye on that page to get your hands on the restock.
Best budget graphics card for ray-tracing: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super
Ray-tracing was off to a bumpy start, but things have changed over the years. First off, a lot of games now support ray-tracing. In fact, almost all the new games that are coming out in 2021 now have some sort of ray-tracing support to offer a better overall gaming experience — be it ray-tracing shadows, ray-tracing reflections, or both. Another thing worth pointing is the availability of GPUs that allow you to experience ray-tracing in games. There were only a handful of expensive GPUs that back then support ray-tracing. However, the portfolio has expanded over the year and there are more RT-supported cards on the market now.
If you’re in the market to buy a GPU that supports ray-tracing, then we think the GeForce RTX 2060 Super is a very good place to start. Yes, there’s no such thing as an “affordable graphics card” now in 2021 due to the prevailing conditions of the GPU market, but the 2060 Super is the one you should be looking at when it comes to budget ray-tracing. It’s your cheapest entry into the world of ray-tracing. The GeForce RTX 2060 Super may not be as powerful as the other 30-series Nvidia GPUs on the market, but it’s plenty to get you started with RT. Also, thanks to Nvidia’s DLSS tech, the 2060 Super performs better than ever in delivering solid playable frame rates even with ray-tracing enabled.
The GeForce RTX 2060 Super is powerful enough to take down the RTX 2070, a more expensive GPU. With this particular GPU, you get everything that’s packed into the RTX 2070 Super, albeit a bit less of each. That’s not really an issue given a palatable price tag and DLSS support. We recommend picking up the 2060 Super if you’re still using one of the older 10-series GPUs. The leap may not seem significant at first, but the real-world performance improvements are very much noticeable. The fact that it beats the RTX 2070 and comes close to the performance of the RTX 2070 Super says a lot about this GPU.
The RTX 2060 Super benefits from the best of Nvidia’s Turning architecture. It boasts a base clock of 1,470Mhz and a boost clock of 1,650MHz. You get 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM over a 256-bit memory interface. You’re looking at a total memory bandwidth of 448GB/s. The RTX 2060 Super also packs 2,176 CUDA cores and 41T RTX-OPS for reliable ray-tracing performance. This GPU should have no issues pushing 1080p gaming with ray-tracing enabled. The 8GB VRAM is a bottleneck for new and upcoming titles, but it’s certainly not a dealbreaker. Nvidia has rated this GPU with 175W of power, which means you should be fine as long as you have a 600W PSU for your rig.
The RTX 2060 Super is a great choice for those who’re upgrading from a 10-series GPU. It’s not the best of what Nvidia has to offer right now, but it’s also not an expensive GPU. We think the RTX 2060 Super will serve you well for a few more years before making you upgrade.
Best entry-level graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super
We understand not everyone is running for the best performing high-end graphics card on the market, which is why we wanted to add some affordable options too. While it may not be the most affordable GPU right now, it’ll still cost you a lot less than all the other GPUs in this collection. We’re talking about the GTX 1660 Super. This is one of the best entry-level GPUs you can get your hands on right now in 2021 and get started with gaming. It packs enough punch to deliver a reliable 1080p gaming experience.
Under normal circumstances, you’ll be able to buy this GPU for under $250, Even now, amidst the global GPU shortage, you might find a 1660 Super for a cheaper price. Not everyone is particularly looking for these older GPUs now, so it’s not as hard to find one in stock. That being said, you’re looking at an entry-level GPU here, so keep your expectations in check when it comes to the performance. The GTX 1660 Super, as the name suggests, is a slightly upgraded version of the GTX 1660 GPU. It offers better performance than the older card.
The GTX 1660 Super should serve you well with its reliable 1080p gaming performance. It’s also a fantastic option for those looking to get started with Esports titles like CS:GO, LoL, Valorant, and more. The GTX 1660 Super is based on the Turing architecture. It comes with a base clock of 1,530MHz and a boost clock of up to 1,785MHz. You only get 6GB GDDR5 VRAM, but it should be plenty to run the kind of games it supports. It’s also using the older GDDR5 VRAM type, making it more affordable than the newer GPUs with GDDR6 memory. The GTX 1660 Super carries a 192-bit memory interface to offer total memory bandwidth of 336GB/s.
The GTX 1660 doesn’t have RT cores for ray-tracing. None of the GTX GPUs support ray-tracing, so it’s not a surprise really. You’ll have to step up at least an RTX 2060 Super in 2021 to enter the world of ray-tracing. The GTX 1660 GPU, however, should have no issues pushing games at 1080p resolution. It may not be the newest GPU out there but it matches the general performance of an RTX 2060. Besides the ray-tracing support, which is not that good on the RTX 2060, to begin with, the GTX 1660 doesn’t skimp any necessary features.
It is, however, worth pointing out that Nvidia doesn’t sell the Founders Edition variant for this GPU. You’ll have to rely on the partner cards, which may be more expensive depending on the kind of specs and heatsink we’re looking at. One of the main reasons why we recommend buying the GTX 1660 Super is that it’s relatively easier to buy this GPU over the others. This can act as a stop-gap GPU until you wait for the GPU market to stabilize. You can check the link below to see how much the GTX 1660 Super will cost you right now.
Best Nvidia graphics card to buy in 2021: Final Thoughts
The GeForce RTX 3080 is the best graphics card you can buy right now. You can also step up to 3080 Ti if you want performance that’s similar to the RTX 3090 without going all out. Those leaning towards 1440p gaming can easily rely on the RTX 3070, while the RTX 3060 Ti is a great option for 1080p gaming right now. Nvidia has managed to keep the market buzzing with new GPUs throughout the year. The company is expected to launch more GPUs in the 30-series before we actually see the new 40-series next year. Things are about to get very interesting in the GPU space, especially with the arrival of Intel’s GPU offerings too. It’s safe to say that there’s no shortage of options to choose from. If only we could say the same for the GPU stocks. We’ll continue to update this article with all the new Nvidia graphics cards whenever they’re launched, so be sure to keep an eye.
Thankfully, the rest of the PC hardware market is healthy with a good amount of stocks. We recommend you check out our collection of the best motherboards or even the best CPU coolers including the ones for the new LGA 1700 socket CPUs. You can also consider joining our XDA Computing Forums to have discussions with fellow PC builders to get more product recommendations for your build.